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May 22, 2010

Top Secret GU Giveaway!

That’s right … it’s time for another GU contest! I’m starting to feel like the Johnny Appleseed of energy gels, but that’s neither here nor there – the main point is that I’ve got more swag to give away.

Even better, some of what I’m giving away is new stuff – as in, not even available to the public yet stuff. Top secret, high security clearance, “you can taste it but then GU agents might have to kill you” kind of stuff. (Only one of those sentences was an exaggeration; I’ll let you guess which one.)

Of course, as per my modus operandi, you have to listen to (or scroll past – your pick. Just remember: honor system!) a story or two to reach the reward. I promise I’ll try to keep them brief. The first story takes place at this month’s Quicksilver 50M race.

In my lead-in to the race, I hinted that I was trying a few different tricks at this year’s event; the most obvious was the ultra debut of my Soft Star moccasins, which held up beautifully over the course of 50 miles. The other twists I employed had to do with my fluid and nutritional intake. I’ll explain the fluid situation in a couple of product reviews on deck for next week – and as far as the nutritional aspect is concerned, I decided to rely almost 100% on GU.

It didn’t really register with me until I started reviewing their products that GU uses small doses of ginger in all of its energy gels. Ginger is known to have anti-nausea properties, and if you’ve read my past ultra reports, you know that I’ve struggled to keep my stomach settled in more than a few major events. When that happens, I have a hard time taking new calories in consistently throughout the race, which of course is something of a problem when you’re running for 50, 62, or 100 miles.

So at Quicksilver, I completely changed and simplified my nutritional strategy, and decided to take nothing but GU during the race. I had a few Roctanes stashed in my waist pack, which I supplemented with packets I picked up at each aid station.

(Incidentally, the nice thing about ultras is that there’s no internal questioning about “Is this activity long enough to justify Roctane?” I fully believe in the added performance benefit of Roctane, but since it costs twice as much as regular GU, I’m often reluctant to use them in training – but at mile 40 of an ultra, it’s a no-brainer.)

To my delight, the plan worked beautifully: starting 45 minutes into the race, I had a GU pack every 40-50 minutes for the rest of the day. With only one exception – I had some muscle cramping near mile 35 and took one piece of banana to combat it – it was the only non-liquid nutrition I consumed during the whole race. I emptied at least a dozen GUs over the course of 50 miles, and my energy levels felt nice and even all day long; there were a couple of mild peaks and valleys later in the race, but nothing like what I’ve felt in some past events. Best of all, I didn’t have any nausea at all, which for obvious reasons made my overall race experience a lot more pleasant.

Was it coincidence? Maybe, but I think not. The experiment went well enough that I’m going to stick with it for my next 100K in early June. In the meantime, I’m spreading the GU love with a couple more readers who leave comments below this post.

As for the spy stuff: part of the prize will be these unlabeled packs from the final test batch of a new flavor that hits the market this July - Mandarin Orange, which will replace the current Orange Burst flavor. I’ll include some of these packs in the prize drawing along with my favorite Jet Blackberry flavor, and throw in a GU Brew packet sampler just to (pardon the pun) sweeten the offer a bit more. And if you’re curious about the taste of Mandarin Orange flavor, I’ve got one more brief story for you …

My two daughters are crazy about Mandarin oranges, as well as those tart little Clementines. Sometimes we eat them with salads, but other times the girls just open a grocery store can of Mandarin slices and empty them into a bowl before devouring them in a matter of seconds. So when my shipment of Mandarin Orange GU arrived, I broke my usual “these kids definitely don’t need energy gels” rule to let them each taste a pack. And they loved it.

Granted, they’re little kids who like pretty much anything remotely sweet, who were eating something previously forbidden. But at least they didn’t dislike them. So Mandarin Orange GU officially gets the Running and Rambling Kids Seal of Approval.

If you win the pack, you can let me know if you agree with them. Leave a comment below, and I’ll announce two winners on Monday night.

*Products provided by GU Energy


daysrun 5/22/10, 10:09 PM  

Did you have to peel your kids off the ceiling after giving them the GU? Took me a couple of walks to get the GU out of my Rottie after she got into my gym bag (she gets into everything if you haven't read my blog lately). I love mandarin oranges too and glad to see they're doing away with that icky orange flavor. It reminded me of some medicine I took when I was a kid - Aspergum I think. Have to try it when I get back into training next month!

Bryan,  5/22/10, 10:11 PM  

I'll throw my name in

Bryan: Dallas, TX

Late congratulations on making it fifty (four) miles in the mocs. I managed 9 miles in my osmas today, and spent the rest of the day napping and resting.

Dan 5/22/10, 10:51 PM  

My Quicksilver 50M (first ultra) nutrition was almost entirely PowerGels, with the random aid station bits of bananna, PBJ, chips, cookies, and whatnot. But what the heck; maybe GU would have let me fly rather than plod through that dang "roller coaster" section between Englishtown and Mockingbird!

BTW, thanks for your QS50 report from last year. I read that several times beforehand, and on race day I smiled each time I came to a spot that I recognized from your photographs in 2009. And unlike some people, I only saw the rotary furnace when it was expected! :)

Morgan Hill

Dave 5/23/10, 12:27 AM  

I would absolutely love to try the Mandarin Orange GU!!!

-Dave P

fgump 5/23/10, 12:28 AM  

Love GU! I switched from Heed to Gu2O a few years ago, as well as from Hammer gels to Gu. I agree-Roctane is too valuable a commodity to be throwing around on training runs, but man, when it's needed and taken, look out! I last used on at mile 2 of a 10k during an olympic distance triathlon, and had a fantastic race.

I'm all about testing out some new GU flavors...sad to see Orange Burst on the way out-that and Vanilla Bean have been my favorites.

Bill in Apex, NC

Traviss 5/23/10, 3:49 AM  

I always prefer the Gu Gels and reading wonder if its the ginger in them that helps with the stomach, have "suffered" a little with some other brands... Traviss

Matt 5/23/10, 5:37 AM  

Years ago I used the gu medium almost exclusively for my training and racing (Gu, powergel, clif shots were my favorites at the time) and now that I'm starting into some training regimines again I would love to try out some new flavors and become reaquainted with what's available. It sounds like I should take a look at picking up some Roctane too. Love reading your blog btw, keep it up.

The BIG E 5/23/10, 5:50 AM  

Send a sample pack out east please.


Oz Runner 5/23/10, 5:55 AM  

orange burst is my favorite, so i'd love to see what they are replacing it with...my son loves mandarin oranges right out of a can too...

Turi 5/23/10, 6:00 AM  

Gu is definitely my favorite brand. I love the spy-like unlabeled packets, too...

TK 5/23/10, 6:06 AM  

I've always used vanilla Powerbar gel during races since it has much higher amounts of sodium and potassium than most other brands. My stomach can get terribly unhappy beyond about 15 miles and the vanilla flavor has been the only proven option. I was never a regular Gu fan - average taste, low electrolytes, and what in the world is up with the high levels of vitamin C and E (over the course of 50 miles, that's a LOT of vitamin C!) On the other hand, I love the Gu Roctane flavors. The higher electrolyte levels and a bit of caffeine also are enticing. I'm not sure that the OKG and amino acids will be of value, but perhaps they won't hurt anything. I've been experimenting with Roctane on long runs to test my gut...I find I really look forward to eating since the flavor is so appealing. It's time I tried it in a race! Send me the secret flavor!

rbrown10 5/23/10, 6:26 AM  

Orange burst was my favorite! Hope the mandarin is as gentle on my stomach. I'm getting ready for my first marathon in almost three years.

Jason D 5/23/10, 6:41 AM  

I'd be happy to give the new GUs a try. I'm usually a Clif Shot guy but maybe a new flavor would convert me. :)

Jason D.
Magalia, CA

Chad R. 5/23/10, 7:04 AM  

Yesterday at the Boone Marathon I planned the work and worked the plan with Orange/Vanilla Roctane. After each of the seven laps I chugged some water infused with Nuun tablets and followed with one Roctane. I never bonked and felt unusually good especially at mile 23. I used to think Roctane was hype but now am hooked.

mo 5/23/10, 7:42 AM  

Just curious- I seem to have an issue with getting sick of the sweetness of Gu/gels in general after one or two and cant stomach the thought of more. I alternate with the shot blocks (margarita flavor is nice and salty)

BW,  5/23/10, 7:50 AM  

I've been a nothing-but-GU guy for my long training runs and races for quite awhile now ... and just like you, it seems to be the perfect thing for me to stay well-caloried with a happy stomach.

And I would love to try the new flavor!

Durham, NC

wirehairedrunner 5/23/10, 9:26 AM  

I've been a long-time GU Plain Jane. I guess it's time to expand my horizons, and what better way than with some Mandarin samples. Excellent reports!!!!

Carl,  5/23/10, 9:42 AM  

I paced a friend for the final 47 miles at the Cascade Crest last year. My race diet consisted of 1x GU every 30 minutes...over 12 nighttime hours. Never had a problem, even afterward. I now bring GU on all of my races, taking a pack every 25-40 minutes.

msimpson 5/23/10, 10:01 AM  

Okay, you've convinced me to go back to GU. My stomach is the first thing to bail on me on a long run, and I'd been moving from GU to real food, but I'd try anything to keep my tummy happy. That, and I LOVE mandarin orange!

Nathan Seibt 5/23/10, 11:17 AM  

I have the same water bottle... but it would look better with some Gu, dontcha think?

Bob 5/23/10, 11:37 AM  


Very interesting story...would love some GU!

JimDog 5/23/10, 11:47 AM  

Doubt I'd really need any for my runs since I only run about 7-8 miles right now...but I'd love to build up to the point where I do need them :-)

I'd also love to know if you have received a pair of Sockwa Amphibians yet to review?

NJ 5/23/10, 12:15 PM  

GU is all I can take in too. Anything else upsets my stomach. I do love cherry sport beans after a long run though.

Mandarin orange sounds like a great flavor. I typically stick with Expresso Love, Vanilla and plain so hopefully it's as good as it sounds because I could use a new flavor (that I like).

Michael Shane Helton 5/23/10, 1:55 PM  

Gimme Gu love.

Reno, Nevada

jeff 5/23/10, 2:17 PM  

Cool idea. Have to try them on the next long run.

John 5/23/10, 2:21 PM  

please send some mandarin love to me in poland. . .thanks

Barefoot AngieB 5/23/10, 3:19 PM  

One can never have too many GUs. I on the other hand am almost out so this would be a welcome win!!
I like to take GUs on the fives and Chews on the twos!

davec 5/23/10, 3:31 PM  

GU is the only thing that keeps me from being nauseous on the long runs, too.

Jeremy,  5/23/10, 4:59 PM  

I have been trying different gels to see which worked best for me. Love to try the new GU products.

Marc 5/23/10, 5:28 PM  

I live on GUs for both training and running ultras. However, I have been lately supplementing these with Stingers to mix up the sucking with a little chewing.

J-Dayton 5/23/10, 6:43 PM  

Congrats on the Race, now you got me thinking about the mocs.


haystack 5/23/10, 8:39 PM  

Thanks for all your excellent stories, and thanks for sharing the GU.


My Life and Running 5/23/10, 9:11 PM  

Interesting about your only taking GUs for the 50. To be honest, I don't think I've tried anything GU brand in about 3 years. Can you taste the ginger? (not a ginger fan)

And apparently it's blackberry picking season in Yuma. Blackberries in the desert, who knew! Is it bad that I'd rather have a Jet Blackberry? :)

Stuart 5/23/10, 11:57 PM  

I am all about Spy vs Spy, count me in please

adam 5/24/10, 4:45 AM  

Blackberry Gu is amazine. Hope to win some this time around.

Jason 5/24/10, 5:15 AM  

I'd love some free Gu. Currently, I live in Brazil and the price is almost triple. We have a group visiting us in July and I usually restock on all my essentials when folks visit. New Gu flavors would be make a perfect care package.

Jason 5/24/10, 6:19 AM  

Please count me in. I've been barefooting it for about 3 months, not quite up to GU distance yet, but hopefully will be soon. Love the blog!

St. Thomas, VI

Victoria 5/24/10, 7:06 AM  

Absolutely love reading your blog.

KarenM,  5/24/10, 7:20 AM  

I've heard good things about the Jet Blackberry! And I'd be the cool kid in my running group with the unlabeled Gu's!

Sarah 5/24/10, 7:28 AM  

Gu is my favorite brand for gels. Looking forward to trying the new flavors.

Chad 5/24/10, 7:53 AM  

Very interesting about the ginger in GU, I was not aware of it. I swear by GU gels and wouldn't change for anything.

Al Nye 5/24/10, 8:52 AM  

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'd love to get my hands on,
Some secret GU!


Richard 5/24/10, 9:37 AM  

Please! Please! Pick me! I'd love to have some GU, even more so secret one!!!

I'll have to test them during a race to see if this ginger thing works. I've tried once relying on Power Bar gel in a half IM and it was a disaster!

Henry 5/24/10, 9:52 AM  

I generally use power bar gels because they have a lower viscosity than GU. But since I normally dump them into whatever I am drinking I am willing to try GU again.


Sean 5/24/10, 9:55 AM  

I'm a big fan of the Vanilla Bean, but I like the new flavors after getting some in my "swag bag" at a race. I'd love to get some more. :)

Robb 5/24/10, 10:22 AM  

I'd love to try them, and I can't have too much Gu. Put me in for the drawing!

James G,  5/24/10, 10:41 AM  

Love Gu. I agree: I can run 50 milers using Gu as the only nutrition (washed with water, supplemented with Saltstick caps every 30 min.).

Josh 5/24/10, 10:43 AM  

I have to say i;ve struggled with finding Gels I could stomach in the past, but I've noticed I handle GU better than others.

Thanks for the contest!

Anonymous,  5/24/10, 10:49 AM  

I'd LOVE to try the new GU.

Right now, I have to rely on a lot of liquid nutrition to survive my long runs. Would love to have an alternative!


Pat,  5/24/10, 11:06 AM  

GU helped me get through long runs in the academy and then continued to do so when I started half-marathons. Now rehabbing from an ankle injury, I plan to use them again as I get back into running.

Julie 5/24/10, 11:20 AM  

I've noticed I have nausea issues when I drink plain water during races. Its strange, but my body can't take the water at all. Stomach cramps and nausea will happen within a minute or so after drinking water. So...water mixed with other things has worked pretty well, and I just make sure I never drink plain water at an aid station! I have no idea why this is though...

Andreas 5/24/10, 11:42 AM  

I didn't know about the ginger, cool if it works! I'm hoping to win some for my next race!

FroggyRun 5/24/10, 11:49 AM  

I've tried PowerBar gel in the past and didn't stomach it well. I will have to try GU gel now. I didn't know it contained ginger. Secret products are so fun!

Josh 5/24/10, 1:54 PM  

I'm in! thanks. Josh S

Chu 5/24/10, 2:08 PM  

Me too!

Arlington, VA

nhill,  5/24/10, 7:17 PM  

I will miss the Orange Burst flavor (it is one of my favorites), but the Mandarin Orange sounds like a great replacement!

Sharon 5/29/10, 7:17 PM  

Hey, I don't know if your giveaway is over, but I just wanted to chime in to say that I am a GU lover-- and I'm slowly getting my Heed, triathlete husband to switch! I've been using GU chews and most recently GU Brew, which I love in Raspberry. I have experimented this year with Honey Stingers, but GU will remain a staple~~

BTW-- I came to this site to read the review for the Nathan Intensity, and I just ordered it-- Thanks!
Ultra-runner wannabe =)

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